XMPP Vision: Community thoughts and ideas
This is a guest article written by Edward Maurer (emus):
From the 26th to the 29th of March 2020 the XMPP Sprint took place in Berlin – we thought actually. The situation on COV-ID19 forced us to at least drop this idea. Thanks to debacle’s motivation not to give up on this, impressively, 15 to 20 people still joined our online sprint!
Previous to the sprint, I planned to have a poster or clipboard to let the participants to brainstorm on the following open question:
“What is your visions for XMPP for the next years?”
No restrictions, mention anything what comes to your mind, no reasoning, no proof, just the raw output from your mind. As the sprint was done as a virtual session on the weekend, everyone was able to attend and collect their statements in the cryptopad we created for the sprint.
So, what were the results if you haven’t read in the cryptopad yet? I evaluated the statements and split them more or less into three main topics, which are: Interoperability, email integration & terminology and finally to become the standard of chat software (yes, technically we actually already are ;)). Here are the statements from the participants:
I took the liberty to do some minor work on some of the statements in terms of spelling and improvement of formulation. See the cryptopad for the each original statement!
- My Vision for XMPP is to have proper end-to-end encryption between all clients. - My vision is that there is more interoperability between the standards (e.g. bridges). No cages anymore. - My vision for XMPP is to have one user friendly, OMEMO-MUC capable, mostly bugfree GUI client for every major platform (Windows, MacOS, IOS, Linux, Android). This is the core reason, why I have trouble to suggest XMPP to many activists and friends. That means, I want a ‘Conversations’-like client for every major platform. For the first step, it is enough if text messaging works fine. Call function is out of scope. - My vision for XMPP is that it finally works nicely on iOS. - My vision for XMPP is that it works for any communication need, not only chat, and with any software (not only dedicated XMPP clients)
Email integration & Terminology
- My vision for Jabber (XMPP) is: Everybody use it for "Chat" (analog IMAP for "E-Mail") and it's kind of ‘normal’ - no user uses the words "Jabber" or "XMPP" anymore. "Chat" is the standard wording. - My vision for XMPP is a better integration with email clients (e.g. presence status, JID discovery from mail addresses) - or at least have some sort of integration at all and to have more mail providers offering XMPP service for their users. It might need some lobbying. - My vision for XMPP is, that we call it Jabber again. No, that's not visionary enough, let's try again: I would also like to have an easier word than XMPP.
Become the standard of chat software
- My vision is that XMPP is used by many people around the globe because of good usability and security. - My vision is for XMPP to become the ‘go-to-thing’ for developers that look into building something related to chat. - My vision for Jabber is that it ‘just works’ for most people. - My vision for XMPP is to offer a user-friendly experience for most people. That means no interoperability problems (especially OMEMO-related) and features popular in modern chat clients like reactions, mentions, grouped discussions or threads. - My vision for XMPP is that the user interfaces of the clients are similar enough so people understand how it works on other devices or operating systems.
First of all, many thanks to everyone participating and stating their ideas! In the closing session, I presented the results to the participants of the sprint (and anybody else who was happy to join because we had no local restriction in this powerful Jitsi Meet server!). Additional statements were made based on this presentation in the discussion afterwards:
- XMPP is more than just chat, we have to keep that in mind (maybe as different dimensions of XMPP) - XMPP logo as a thing to recognize and should be used to advertise being capable of this protocol.Still, people can identify an app as their messenger service in general. Not just state that “This is a chat client” but “This is a chat client and it's compatible XMPP so it work with your Android client” - Non-tech users fail with XMPP because of lack of a good iOS client and issues with group chats (and not because missing of ‘fancy’ features).
There were many positive reactions about using a simpler and more identifiable terminology apart from ‘XMPP’ or ‘Jabber’.
Finally, why am I doing this? Here is the vision I pursue:
- My vision for XMPP is to have a decentral network, but central communication in the network and the community!
I am convinced that we should invest in being the federated and decentral network we are using. Still, I think we should review the way we communicate internally and externally. One option is to ask the people what they think and check if there is, nearby all individuality we try to prosper, a red-line within the collective mind. Maybe there are red-lines we haven’t seen yet? This is not the end of the road. Furthermore, I think we should also invest to align and centralize our communication within the network. I think it is hard for newcomers to choose which island within the ‘Ocean of XMPP’ is the right one to start with? Even if you think that your island is the right one, does the people in the other sea know? How long does it take until they may stop in your harbor? And not just newcomers, also other people who are already there. I have no definite idea how to approach this, but I think everyone should know where to get a ‘Sea-map’ for XMPP. How does your sea-map of the XMPP network look like?
Pietro Vesconte, 1318, western Mediterranean Sea with Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily [Link]
Finally, if you read this thread and the ideas spread in your mind – just leave a note below. Hopefully see you at the next sprint on the other side of the ocean. Take care!